An interesting question. When can conflict be resolved by negotiation and when is that not possible? Having better answers to this question could help us avoid wasting time trying to get parties to the negotiating table. And if factors stand in the way of starting negotiation, they may also hamper negotiations that are already started.
As it turns out, there is some research on this. That research suggests that perceptions of (1) relative power and (2) desire to change or maintain the status quo dominate thinking in whether a party will agree to talk.
There is a lot to think about there – perceptions versus reality, creating and changing perceptions, power demonstrations, power realities, and the value added of change versus status quo. Interesting stuff!